Yes, the Filip Benkovic’s goal should have stood and we really should learn to convert penalties, but Celtic did not cause Motherwell sufficient alarm to make the points safe before a late equaliser. This was our fifth consecutive game away from Celtic Park in an intense period for the players. It was also the first game after Sundays’ cup final party, the chance of points being dropped was high.
We have not looked so pedestrian since……… the last time Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham started. I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from this, if any. Ryan Christie delivered again. His impact on the team since late October has been incredible, without him, you would be feeling slightly less easy about our position.
Brendan Rodgers rested James Forrest, Mikael Lustig, Scott Sinclair, Odsonne Edouard and Tom Rogic from the starting line-up. Despite the result, I still think this was the right decision. Salzburg have this midweek off and face bottom of the Austrian table Admira on Saturday.
They will arrive in Glasgow next week fully rested with only one game to go before a two month winter break. With a 14-point lead in the league, they will be resting no one against Celtic. The Austrians are likely to be the strongest team we face this season and if we are to have any chance against them, we need to be as physically prepared as they are.
The ‘Always play your strongest team’ mantra just weakens your strongest team for when you really need it. This month’s priorities were the League Cup Final, Salzburg, the visit to Ibrox and the visit to Pittodrie, in that order. We should be utilising the squad on other occasions.
Kilmarnock top of the league in December is noteworthy. They will not finish the season within 10 points of the top and, in all likelihood, their stay will last no more than three days, but this is a remarkable overachievement by a team who found their managerial maestro. They also lost their best player to Celtic in the summer. Credit where due.
Celtic Foundation letter from Santa
As part of this year’s Christmas Appeal, the Foundation have arranged a letter from Santa to be sent to any child (or good adult) you know. For a £5 donation the recipient will receive a letter signed by Santa, the signature of their favourite Celtic player, their name, age and what they would like for Christmas.
You must know someone who would like this, even if what they want for Christmas is another 1-5 win at Ibrox. Details here.